Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

New Matilda reborn

Back in May, I noted the closure of New Matilda, a website which provided one of the few independent political media outlets in Australia. Creating a viable financial model for such projects is difficult, and they weren't able to consistently cover their costs. However, they are obviously a determined bunch at New Matilda, as they are giving it another go. The website was resurrected last week, and rather than ...


New Matilda piece on prospects of an early election

Election speculation can serve to distract people from the policy issues and decisions being made which are directly affecting people’s lives.  However, it is a significant issue, especially when it may lead to a double dissolution election which would immediately change the Senate’s make up. Regardless of whether it’s a double dissolution or a normal half-Senate election, it is virtually a certainty that the Greens will hold the balance ...

Another Political Cartoon contest at New Matilda

I wrote last year about a new cartoon competition being run by New Matilda.  The opportunities for political cartoonists to make a living are probably fewer than ever these days, so it’s great that New Matilda has been holding the same competition again this year.  To have a look at their final heat entries click on this link.

A post-election piece at New Matilda

Having had apiece published at New Matilda just before election day, I thought I'd follow it up with a post-election one which you can also read at their site.  I'd be looking a lot smarter now if I'd just stuck with my original suggestion when the election was announced that Labor would lose about 9 seats, rather than assuming as the campaign went that all the pundits calls ...

New Matilda piece on Qld election campaign

New Matilda has published a piece I wrote analysing the Queensland election campaign (before the result was known). My suggestion when the poll was announced that Labor might only lose about 9 seats is looking fairly sick, but not as sick as my suggestion the Liberals and Nationals would never be able to pull off a merger.

Political cartoon competition

Over the last few months, New Matilda has been running a competition for political cartooning.  It has all boiled down to twelve finalists, with the winning entries being announced tomorrow night (Wednesday 29th) in Sydney. I am one of the judges of the final entries, along with’s Editor Marni Cordell and satirist Ben Pobjie, renowned cartoonist Bruce Petty, plus Natasha Stott Despoja. You can see the final entries at ...

Things I’ve written elsewhere

Here are links to a few pieces I’ve written elsewhere. This one is a piece at New Matilda about the dangers of kneejerk suggestions that we should actively slash migration because of the looming economic downturn. And two pieces at Crikey on migrant representation in Parliament

New Matilda piece on Turnbull’s shadow Cabinet

Malcolm Turnbull’s new shadow cabinet drew a lot of attention and comment.  I’ve written something about it in this piece over at New Matilda.


Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. (more…)

  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.